In one of my recent blogposts about scaling back and the pressure to produce, I mentioned how I’ve pinpointed three creative areas I’d like to focus on going forward. These three fields are ones I have cultivated from a young age. Instead of rushing off to try any new craft that hops across my path, I’ve decided that immersing into mediums I’ve loved since I was a little girl is the best way to feel creatively fulfilled and hone my existing skills. If you’d like to read more about this thought process, go to my blog post entitled ‘More options ≠ more joy’.
Now I’m here to share with you the first medium I’ve selected… sewing! From about the age of seven, I loved stitching of all kinds. My mom initially taught me to hand sew and cross-stitch, and then I went on to try my hand at embroidery and even a little machine work on my mom’s old Singer machine. In high school, I chose to specialise in fashion for my Design class, which is when my parents blessed me with my own sewing machine. The sewing machine was on special with a free dressmaker’s dummy thrown into the deal. So I started winging it from day one. I drew my designs up on paper and then draped and pinned fabric on the dummy to form the shapes and silhouettes I liked, before machine-sewing everything in place.
I loved it so much that I went on to study fashion design after high school. Those three years were grueling but immensely enriching. I learned everything from pattern-making and sewing, to fashion illustration and marketing. Although I then started a sock company in 2012, which didn’t initially involve my sewing skills at all, I’ve always kept up the skill in the background. And over the past year, my sewing skills have been needed more readily, with the introduction of fabric face masks (thanks to Covid) into my range and, more recently, tea towels and pillow cases.
When I sew, it unlocks so many other creative ideas for me, because it isn’t only limited to the field of clothing design. My mind begins to wander to homeware ideas and stitch art. Which is why I’ve decided to push it a little more into the foreground going forward. Below you can find the two projects I’ve been working on recently…
I purchased this dress pattern book in an airport bookshop over a year ago. I decided to use this cute swan fabric to make Dress E from the pattern book. It’s a sweet baby-doll style with parallel pleats that run from the front neckline to under the bust. And it has pockets, which is always a win!
This second dress was made from a digital pattern I bought from Sewaholic Patterns. It’s a faux-wrap dress with elastication in the waist, making it super easy to slip on without any worry about slits or ties coming undone while you’re running about. I’m not entirely happy with the size that the size guide recommended for me - I feel it would have been more flattering if it fit slightly more snug. But that said, I have worn it for two days straight and it’s so comfy. The happy yellow viscose I bought also makes me feel joyful when I’m wearing it.
Thank you for reading! I will continue to share my projects right here and on Instagram (@chelwillmake). I would love to see what you’ve been working on too!